Lionel Messi dominates, reaches World Cup semi-finals with Argentina
Of course, he did it. Lionel Messi and Argentina defeated the Netherlands (2-2, 4-3 on penalties) on Friday to become the second team to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals after Croatia defeated Brazil earlier the same day.
One more time, the no. 30 for PSG and no. 10 for Argentina, Messi played genius in Qatar and scored one more international goal for the Albiceleste in their quarter-finals game against the Netherlands.
No happy with having put Argentina 2-0 up by the 73rd minute, Messi later scored another penatly-kick in the shootout to start deciding the game in favor of the South American nation.
Be it because of referee Matheu La Hoz's rather dubious antics or a collective Argentine collapse in the final minutes of regulation, a no-contest turned into a tight game leading up to a lucky-driven penalty shootout.
Or so the Netherlands players and coaches would say, as luck was surely not part of Argentina defeating the Dutch.
Lionel Messi scored two penalty kicks, one in regulation and one in the shootout, to carry Argentina to the World Cup semi-finals
Lautaro Martinez put the final dagger to the Dutch footballing heart from the spot, making it 4-3 Argentina. Dibu Martinez had stopped two penatly kicks before that. Lionel Messi, of course, oppened the series with a sound and solid goal himself.
Brazil couldn't capitalize on having a bonafide football legend Neymar playing for them and crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Croatia.
The PSG forwards walked very different paths on the way to their respective hotels on Friday night. Even on defeat, though, Neymar joined Brazil's national team history books matching Pele's goalscoring record after scoring his 77th goal with the Canarinha.
Messi will keep fighting for lifting the only cup that has always escaped his trophy case.
Achieving that feat would shut all critics not yet considering him part of the GOAT conversation, and for that Messi will need to first slash a bunch of Croats next Tuesday before playing in the World Cup final for the second time in his glorious career.